Kashmiri shawl traders dubbed as militants by Punjab media, Police negates claim

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Srinagar

As India was set off to celebrate Diwali on November 7, four Kashmiri men were picked up by the Police day before in Ludhiana city of Panjab, for some “routine questioning” but what shocked the four Kashmiris was when they were “defamed and branded as terrorists” by a section of the local media in news reports that appeared on next day.

According to a report by Indian Express, the police did not misbehave with them and released them after some routine questioning, but the four men said that this had not only impacted their credibility in business circles but also affected their families back home.

The photograph has no relevance to the story; it’s being used as a representational picture

On Tuesday evening around 8:30, police arrived to the rented residence of four men identified as Parvez Ahmad Lone (33), Jahangir Ahmad Mir (22), Naseer Ahmad Lone (24) and Mohammad Yousuf Lone (41), in Rarri Mohalla in Ludhiana, and allegedly picked up for the questioning. The four men in Kashmir belong to Punzwa village in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

Parvez Ahmad Lone, who runs Lone Textile Emporium, dealing in blankets, shawls and other hosiery goods in Ludhiana, told The Indian Express, “The police came around 8:30 pm with one photograph and a call recording. They searched our premises and then asked for our cook, Jahangir, who had reportedly called some policeman in Kashmir due to which police grew suspicious. They asked us to accompany them. We were taken to Sadar police station where we were asked if Jahangir has any links with militants. We clarified that there is no such thing and after some routine questioning regarding our business and other details back home, we were released around 1 am. The police did not misbehave or even touch us.”

Lone, however, said the four were shocked Wednesday morning when they read some newspaper reports claiming that Ludhiana police had arrested four “terrorists” and weapons were recovered from them.

Naseer Ahmad Lone (24) is a student at a private university in Jalandhar and was home for Diwali when police picked him, the report mentioned.

Mohammad Yousuf Lone is an accountant. Mohammad Yousuf Lone said, “If we are terrorists, then are Ludhiana businessmen supplying goods to terrorists since years? The police did not misbehave with us even once but the news reports that came next day shocked us. It was written that four militants have been arrested with weapons while there was not an iota of truth in it. We cooperated with the police in every way,” Indian Express reported.

“We stand by our initial statement that it was routine verification process ahead of Diwali as a precautionary measure for security reasons. We never arrested anyone. All news reports saying that four Kashmiri militants have been arrested were published without any confirmation from our side without any police statement. We had only questioned them for some details and they were released later,” Indian Express quoted Additional DCP Surendra Lamba as saying.

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